This pioneering book studies the function and status of the written word in Carolingian society in France and Germany in the eighth- and ninth-centuries. It demonstrates that literacy was by no means confined to a clerical elite, but was dispersed in lay society and used for government and administration, and for ordinary legal transactions among the peoples of the Frankish kingdom. While exploiting a huge range of primary material, Professor McKitterick does not confine herself to a functional analysis of the written word in Carolingian northern Europe but goes on to assess the consequences and implications of literacy for the Franks themselves and for the subsequent development of European society after 1000. Key topics discussed include law and the use of the written word, the conduct and record of legal transactions, the economic and social status of the book in Carolingian society, the methods evolved to organize and define written knowledge, and the whole question of lay literacy.
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(228mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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